Page 6 of 8
Enjoy the Games while they're here... they bring great opportunities for growth in all aspect of life !
Because Mountains Matter
A worthy torch bearer overlooked
I know that it is impossible to have everyone that deserves to be an Olympic torch bearer be one, but it seems that a prominent resident has been grossly overlooked as an Olympic or Paralympic torch bearer for the community of Whistler.
John Ryan has resided in Whistler for the past 22 years and enjoyed many ski seasons here before that permanent move. He continued to live, work and also start his family in this community after suffering a paralyzing injury in a 1994 car accident. The accident left John confined to a wheelchair and yet he continues to be a positive role model, an incredible athlete and a very successful realtor (despite the obvious barriers the profession poses for him in a mountain resort).
Whistler Residents living here in 1999 fondly remember Sept. 11 of that year as the day that the Sea to Sky corridor welcomed The John Ryan Regeneration Tour home from John's four-and-a-half month hand-cycling journey across Canada for spinal cord research. Countless supporters lined the highway and jammed the village for John's victorious return. It was one of the most memorable moments in Whistler's history and dare I say, it was even more electric and emotional than the day years later, that we all learned Vancouver/Whistler had won the 2010 Olympic bid (and that was a special day)!
The John Ryan Regeneration Tour was a huge undertaking and raised over $1 million for spinal cord research. John committed years to preparation, planning and asking friends, family, co-workers, clients and complete strangers for help to make this dream a reality.
It was John's time, money and effort spent to go to many schools before, during and after the tour to speak that gave this tour extra meaning for John, although the main benefit (beyond raising awareness and much-needed funds for spinal cord research) was undoubtedly meeting all the very best people across our country. Whether it was the kids emptying their piggy banks into John's hands in Newfoundland or Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, pinning the Meritorious Service Medal on John after the tour, it was all an incredible honour.